An attorney for Brock Turner, the former Stanford student who was convicted of sexual assault in 2015 for attempting to rape an unconscious woman, baffled an appeals court judge this week with an argument for why Turner's conviction ought to be overturned.
Local news station WHIO reports that appellate attorney Erick Multhaup on Tuesday told a three-justice appeals panel that his client never intended to sexually assault the unconscious woman and was instead only committing what he described as "sexual outercourse," which he described as a variant of "safe sex."
"I absolutely don’t understand what you are talking about," replied a baffled Justice Franklin D. Elia in response to Multhaup's arguments, WHIO reports.
Turner is trying to get his conviction overturned so that he can have his status as a Tier III sex offender dropped from the record. Multhaup's strategy in pitching his "outercourse" theory was to argue that jurors in the Turner case made "unreasonable inferences" based on witness testimony and on medical examiners' determination that his victim was completely unconscious at the time of the assault.
Hadar Aviram, a University of California Hasting law professor, tells WHIO that it's generally considered risky to question a jury's entire verdict without introducing new evidence because "because the person is no longer presumed innocent, they’ve already been found guilty."
Turner was infamously sentenced to only six months in jail after his sexual assault conviction, and he wound up only serving three months before being released.